RACE REPORT: W@W #2: Wednesday At Wakefield Number Two

this is old news... I never checked it out
not so sure I need to check it out
it would be hard for me to separate two weeks ago from last week
and I still need to write last week's report
you get what you get... do not fret
results are up for week two... did not find any photos of myself

almost a week has passed since the last W@W
if I am going to throw down some words... I best do it now
as the time for looking back has nearly past
it is rapidly approaching the time for looking forward
so... here it is... my report from last week
expect a Weather Report... a Traffic Report... and a Race Report
no extra charge!

Wednesday At Wakefield Number Two

the afternoon sky was heavy with the threat of rain
it was clear it was going to rain... it just was not obvious when
during my day I ignored glancing at Weather Dot Com as I did not feel that seeing a Doppler Radar's prediction of the weather forecast would aid in my efforts
I got out of work a few minutes early and got home to load the car with enough time to get out to Wakefield Regional Park without panicking
went out there with my fingers crossed... hoping the rain would hold out long enough to allow me to race

out of Mount Pleasant and through downtown I was moving through a steady flow of congested traffic of people just getting out of work
I drove down Interstate 395 out of the District shocked that the traffic was so light... I had left a few minutes earlier than the week prior and thought I had missed Rush Hour traffic... but no

the traffic started later in my trip... go figure

the week prior the traffic was immediate... this time the traffic backed up as I got closer to Wakefield
I just relaxed and breathed easy
or should I say... I tried to relax and breath easy as I knew that this snail pace traffic was not going to prevent me from making the 6:55 start time

traffic early in my drive... traffic late in my drive... what was I thinking... there is always traffic... there will always be traffic... it would kill me to have the bumper to bumper parking lot speed traffic the whole way
it would kill me to have this sort of commute in my day everyday

I arrived at the park with travel time similar to the week prior... when I arrived the early racers were half way through their journey
I signed my race waiver, threw a number on my bike, and suited up
the sky over head was blocking the sun so I tossed my sun glasses back in the car
rather than warm up I grabbed my camera and cheered on racers as they passed

with my camera in hand I cheered as the racers pass... I considered various vantage points for stellar photographs
then I stumbled mentally... it is tough to wrap one's head around more than one task... splitting my thoughts between the rapidly approaching race and taking photos had me unable for either
so I opted to not take any shots and to just cheer for the passing racers before I lined up with the Clydesdales
there really was not enough time to play photographer

in fact... on the ride home I had nearly crashed my bike trying to play photographer
while zipping around Dupont Circle on my bike I saw a subject on the bike perfect for a Gwadzilla Shot
I took the camera in hand... cropped around the subject... then when I was about to snap the shot in my perifferal I thought I saw traffic in front of me stopped short
I slammed on my brakes in a panic and returned my focus to the bike
traffic was still a few feet ahead... it was a scare just the same... I was lucky that such a heavy pull on the front brake did not send me over the handlebars in traffic

as I watched the racer cross the start finish and feed into another lap I saw things get sloppy
a fatigued set of woman racers from the beginner class got tangled up and crashed in a mass of bodies and bikes
it was a low speed crash without much drama and more than likely no blood
the women stayed motionless in the path of race traffic

I moved one bike... someone else moved the other
then people assisted the fallen racers to the edge of the path where racers were still racing

more racers collected in the confusion
then things were cleared... people were back on their bikes... people were back into racing
well... other than the original two woman crashers
after the passage of some time I reminded them that they should be on their bikes and finish the race
one of the women slowly mounted her bike and sheepishly pedaled back onto the course while the other sat with her heads in her hands
in a muffled voice she bitched about the obnoxious behavior of the other racers
how the racers had been so inconsiderate in their passing

I did not argue with her... I knew her point... she was neither right nor wrong... that was just her experience
a negative experience at that
I thought about the pass and how I can be one of those racers wanting to pass
how I try to be considerate... but thought about how the passed racer felt

then realizing the time I rushed off to the start line

at the line there were the usual suspects... there are only so many Clydesdales... the class can only get so big...
a few unfamiliar faces were there and some unfamiliar bikes
there were also a few vacancies
I had seen Greg's wife and kids milling about the course and figured he had raced Single Speed
later review of the results shows Greg racing single speed and Expert...
ah... the "back to back" I love and hate the "back to back"
this year I felt like the "back to back" Single Speed and then Clydesdale was more than I could get my head and my fitness around... it irks me to see others doing it... like I am missing the party
also looked for the name of Chris Redlack on the results... no sign of his name

at the line I surveyed the situation... tried to size up the competition
friend and DCMTB team mate Kent Baake had told me that his neighbor would be on the line this week as a Clydesdale to give me a run for my money... I shouted out asking if anyone knew Kent Baake... there was no response... then in between the friendly banter I noticed a Gripped Racing Jersey with the Dogfish Logo on it... I made mention of there being no slow racers on the Gripped Squad... I should have listened to my own words... those words would have made me better prepared for the events to follow

the other classes were released and we waited for our turn to come
with the count back from a minute thirty my heart rate accelerated
with a count back from ten I tried to get ready
then a half pedal before the words go had me half stepping to avoid the false start
then trying to move forward I missed clipping in with my right foot
I fumbled and fumbled again... bikes moved forward around me

finally clipped in and on the bike I was on that short gravel hill fighting for position
I crested the top of that mini challenge in the shadow of Barry Quigley
turning left onto the gravel road I took the inside line and passed Barry and spun my single speed wildly to get past Marine John
just before the hole shot feeding it the first section of singletrack I was where I wanted to be... riding first in my category

in the distance not so far ahead I could already see the challenges ahead of me
racers to be passed
I thought about the race prior and my intentions to race differently this week
I thought about racing fast and fluid... banking turns with my speed
trying to keep off the brakes and maintain speed
rather than my herky jerky style of over accelerating and over braking which expends a great deal of energy and really beats up the body
I also thought about being as considerate as possible when making the pass

but my desire to be fast and fluid was disrupted by the sound of knobby tires in my shadow
so I cranked it up
I raced ahead to try and get this bike out of my shadow
but alas... the trailing racers from the classes ahead prevented me from getting ahead
I raced ahead only to find myself forced to move at the pace of the slower racers released in the classes in front of me
so... I drop my pace and looked for a clean safe place to pass
as I passed each set of racers so did the rider behind me

I would try to sprint ahead to ditch this racer only to be blocked by the next set of stragglers
only to be caught and then have him make the pass through the same gap that I created

this pastern continued through the course of the first lap
I worked so hard to get away from this racer only to be blocked by the racers from the classes in front of me
it was frustrating... it was exhausting

as I made my passes I thought about the words of that woman who had refused to return to the race because of how she felt the other racers had passed her
I tried to be as considerate as possible... but I also wanted to make my pass
I also wanted the racers ahead of me to be considerate of me

there were lines of cyclist rolling along at a less than race pace
they were in that group that I call the Singletrack Caterpillar
a tough group to pass... they can all pedal faster... but they only pedal faster when you try to pass

AHHHHH! I am trying to be considerate of them... but are they being considerate of me... if they slow for a pedal stroke and let me slide by their race does not change... but forcing me to roll at their rate is totally screwing with my race

oh man! ohhhh mmaaaaannnnnn!
there I was on my single speed pacing along behind these racers
forced to take full sections of trail at their pace rather than mine
waiting for a spot to pass... then missing it
asking nicely to pass... some allowing me by other refusing to acknowledge my request
trying to take it... and having some accelerate to block it
while other times I could not bridge the gap fast enough
it was so frustrating

at the finish of lap one at the crossing of the line that marks the end of a lap and the start of another I was able to thrust past a group of riders who I had trailed behind quite long enough
then I turned back into the single track only to see that the fading light had created sections of darkness in the woods
I was pleased I was not wearing sunglasses but was bummed that I had not brought a head lamp

the second lap had far few racers blocking my path
there were still passes that needed to be made... but far few and far fewer situations where I was refused the pass
I was not sure how far behind me the trailing Clydesdale was but I tried to maintain pace rather than slow down and find out
I spun my single speed fast and fluid and worked hard to muscle myself up each little climb
before the end of this lap it started to rain
it was dark in some sections of the woods
and things were starting to get slick

at the start of lap three it was raining...
I thought to myself that the odds of someone standing in the rain to snap my picture were slim
oh well... no beauty shots
I took to the woods and thought about smart racing
tried to keep the bike upright
tried to find that speed that was just fast enough so that I would not be caught and not so fast that my bike slipped out from under me

my bike never slid or sketched
perhaps I was going slower than I should have... but... I did not want to risk it
the rain put a slick sheen on the hard packed earth
I saw riders wiped out at various spots and tried to slow down to prevent the risk of my doing the same

it was frustrating... so often I look forward to looking at the times to compare myself to the other classes... the slowed pace by passing is something that removes the notion of my time being measured like a time trial... then this rain... well... there would be no need to compare my time on my Single Speed to the Single Speed racers... my time would be completely different
not only are there different release times and different people to pass... racing on a dry course in the sun is very different than racing on a wet course in the dark rain...

lap three came to a close
a racer who I had caught and passed had been pacing behind me
as a joke he raced me for the line... but in this situation of the time trial... my later release time had my finishing time minutes ahead of his... so I did not care about his sprint and lunge for the photo finish... well... I cared... but I did not respond

racers gathered under The Bike Lane tent to exchange tales from the trail and then a number of people went across the street to get some grub at Kilroys
I joined some people on the back deck at Kilroys to extend my Wakefield experience

a good time for sure
time well spent
good racing... good people... good times

Wednesday At Wakefield is a highlight of my summer each and every summer!

more on this when I get a second

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